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Mayor De Blasio Weighs In On Desegregating NYC Public Schools

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio says he believes segregated schools are a problem, but he doesn't believe busing students to other neighborhoods is a solution.

Instead, he's considering other options that have some parents concerned.

As CBS2's Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported Thursday, the Upper West Side appears to be the testing ground for the mayor's push to desegregate schools. For some, it's an explosive issue.

"From a very selfish standpoint, I don't want to see my real estate investment fizzle out when it's all of our money, it's everything we own," Upper West Side parent Sarah Emley said.

She and her husband bought an apartment in the neighborhood because of the schools. But with the Department of Education considering a pilot program to reserve 25 percent of the seats in top middle schools on the Upper West Side for low-performing students, she's worried.

"We're barely getting by as new homeowners. To think we may have made a bad investment is what keeps me up at night," Emley said. "It's going to lose value if we're not zoned in a good school district."

De Blasio told Kramer he understands the concerns but he believes the Upper West Side model is a good one.

"I look forward to us taking those models all over the city and more and more kids learning in diversified classrooms," he said.

The mayor's comments come as a new study by The New School showed a stunning increase in the number of parents, in their hunt for better education, enrolling their kids in districts other than the one they live.

Forty percent of new kindergarten students enrolled in schools outside their neighborhood in last school year – up from 28 percent during the 2007-2008 academic year.

With the new Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza sparking the debate with a retweet nearly a week ago, Kramer asked the mayor how he plans to desegregate the city's 1,700 plus schools.

"Is it busing, is it rezoning?" she asked.

"To create more diversity in schools, we should not rely on busing. Busing did not work and created a lot of division, needless division," he replied.

Some parents Kramer spoke with asked why the city doesn't improve all the schools.

The mayor said that's his goal – to make all schools so good that parents won't look outside their neighborhoods for a good classroom.

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